Talk of the Nation

Weekdays 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Neal Conan

Talk of the Nation links the headlines with what's on people's minds, providing a springboard for listeners and experts to exchange ideas and pose critical questions about major events in the news and the world around them. Each day, Talk of the Nation combines the award-winning resources of NPR News with the vital participation of listeners. The result is a spirited and productive exchange of knowledge and insight that delves deeply into the news and ideas of the day.

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Iraq
12:55 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

After A Surge Of Violence, The Threat Of A New Civil War In Iraq

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 1:10 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan.

Yesterday, seven people were killed and 24 wounded in bomb attacks in Iraq as a surge of violence there continues, 2,000 dead since April; numbers that haven't been seen since the worst days of 2006 and 2007. Then as now, the fighting is largely between Sunnis and Shiites, but this time, inflamed by the civil war raging next door in Syria.

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Politics
12:56 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

The Penultimate Edition Of The Political Junkie

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 10:20 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. The speaker clamps the Hastert Rule on immigration reform. Three Republican senators now support gay marriage. And the Bay State Senate race goes into its last week. It's Wednesday and time for a penultimate edition of the political junkie.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?

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NPR Story
12:36 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Deadpan Humor And Childhood Fears Collide In 'The Dark'

In The Dark, a boy name Laszlo is visited one night by his biggest fear.
Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 1:26 pm

If there's one thing kids are scared of, it's the dark. In his latest children's book, The Dark, Daniel Handler — who writes under the pen name Lemony Snicket — takes on darkness itself, with the story of a young boy who confronts his biggest fear. Handler is known for his dry wit and matter-of-fact take on the mysterious and macabre.

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Business
12:36 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Will Work For Free? The Future Of The Unpaid Internship

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 10:20 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. With school out, many college - and even some high school students - will spend the summer working as interns. It's a chance to beef up their resumes, gain on-the-job experience and make valuable contacts. Last week, a federal district court judge in New York issued a ruling that could change the system.

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From Our Listeners
12:36 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Letters: Rare Diseases, Only Children

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 10:20 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

It's Wednesday, and time to read from your comments. James in Laurel Hill, Fla., emailed during our conversation about research into rare diseases. "I would like to affirm the comment made by your guest about rare disease research leading to help for more common diseases," he wrote. "My nephew has brittle bone disease. Some aspects of his treatment have been used to help mend broken bones in accident victims, so research into rare disorders can definitely lead to treatment for others."

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National Security
1:03 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Obama's Former Legal Adviser Urges U.S. To 'Disciple Drones'

Transcript

JOHN DONVAN, HOST:

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World
12:49 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

When A Language Dies, What Happens To Culture?

Transcript

JOHN DONVAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm John Donvan.

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Afghanistan
12:46 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

A Look Ahead To The Future Of Afghanistan

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 1:07 pm

Transcript

JOHN DONVAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm John Donvan in Washington. Neal Conan is away. Of course somebody needed to mark the occasion today by setting off a bomb. It was Afghanistan, where what is hoped will be a turning point was reached today when a ceremony was held in which the Afghan government officially took control of the nation's security, meaning that the U.S., which still has nearly 70,000 troops there, swaps into what is called a support role. Same for some of the 30,000 troops from other NATO nations.

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Media
12:34 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Breaking Bad News To Kids: How Media Has Tweaked The Process

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 1:05 pm

Parents have always had to break hard news to kids, from family hardships to national tragedies. Now there are more ways for children to learn about news faster — through 24 hour news and social media. So, what's changed in how parents broach these subjects? How can media help, or hurt?

Law
12:54 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

After SCOTUS DNA Ruling, What Changes For Police?

The Supreme Court ruled in June that police can routinely take DNA samples from people who are arrested for comparison against a national database. The decision raises major questions about how law enforcement and criminal justice processes will change.

NPR Story
12:45 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

'Cows Save The Planet': Soil's Secrets For Saving The Earth

Chelsea Green Publishing

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 9:57 am

In her book Cows Save The Planet, journalist Judith Schwartz argues that the key to addressing carbon issues and climate change lies beneath our feet. Schwartz says that proper management of soil could solve a long list of environmental problems.

"The thing to realize is that while we think about this as a sky thing — that it's all about all the fossil fuels that we're burning and all that spewing into the atmosphere — it's actually also a ground thing," she tells NPR's Neal Conan.

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Middle East
12:45 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Is Big Change Ahead In Iran? A Biography Of The President Elect

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 7:56 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan.

In Tehran today, the first news conference of Iran's president-elect ended abruptly when a man in the audience jumped up to protest the absence of the man many believe was elected president four years ago, Mir-Hossein Mousavi has been held under house arrest since 2011. And after the interruption, President-elect Hasan Rouhani left the stage and state television pulled the plug on the live broadcast.

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Around the Nation
12:45 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Looking Ahead With NPR's Margot Adler

Originally published on Mon June 17, 2013 3:06 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. For the past several weeks, we've taken the opportunity to reconnect with some of our favorite guests and colleagues in a series of conversations looking ahead. Today, longtime NPR New York correspondent Margot Adler, who's filed stories on hundreds of New Yorkers over the years: AIDS activists, street musicians, cops, environmental visionaries, and a guy who will move your car at exactly the right moment to take full advantage of opposite-side-of-the-street parking laws.

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Science
12:03 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Decoding 'the Most Complex Object in the Universe'

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 3:13 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Your brain has nearly 100 billion neurons, and one of my next guests compares that complexity to the Amazon rainforest. In fact, he says there about as many trees in the Amazon as there are neurons in your brain. Think about what the Amazon looks like for a second.

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NPR Story
10:27 am
Fri June 14, 2013

With Climate Change, No Happy Clams

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 3:13 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Think for a minute about the victims of climate change. You might envision the polar bear, right? You see a lot of that in the news, atop a block of melting ice or - where there's no ice to grab onto, or the great ice sheet covering Greenland drip, drip, dripping away, or the tiny island of Tuvalu whose people and beaches might soon be swallowed by rising seas.

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NPR Story
10:27 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Rolling Out Bamboo Bicycles

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 3:13 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Up next, Flora Lichtman is here with us for our Video Pick of the Week. Hi, Flora.

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Ira.

You went with something Seattlely(ph). How would I describe it - Seattle-like this week for this week's video.

That's right. When in Mayor McSchwinn's city, you have to go with the bikes. Lightening it up for pick of the week, but - as usual.

(LAUGHTER)

LICHTMAN: Oh, yes. This week's video is about, not just any bicycle builders, these are folks who are building bicycles out of bamboo.

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NPR Story
10:27 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn Talks Climate and Carbon

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 3:13 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. He's been called Mayor McSchwinn for riding his bicycle to work. He's pledged to turn his town of Seattle into a model for what one city can do to lower its carbon footprint, and for good reason. As the climate changes, coastal cities like Seattle are challenged by rising sea levels.

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NPR Story
10:27 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Looking Back, and Up, at a Seattle Icon

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 3:13 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

We are broadcasting today from the Pacific Science Center in Seattle. And just steps away from this building, right outside is something that should be familiar to anyone who's ever received a postcard from Seattle or taken home a pen or a glass or anything tchotchke of any kind. And it's the Space Needle, built in connection with the 1962 World's Fair. It is an iconic part of the Seattle skyline.

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NPR Story
10:27 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Human Genes Not Patentable, Supreme Court Says

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 3:13 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that human genes cannot be patented. The case involves a dispute over patents held on the BRCA1 and the BRCA2 genes, the so-called breast cancer genes; and tests a company, Myriad Genetics, used to look for mutations to those genes.

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NPR Story
10:27 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Denis Hayes on Being Green

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 3:13 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Anyone who has taken some time on Earth Day to contemplate the planet has my next guest to thank. Danis Hayes was the first national coordinator for Earth Day back in 1970, and if I might insert a personal note, Earth Day back in 1970 was also the anniversary of my first science story I ever did. So this is very interesting, and I'm very happy to have as my guest today Denis Hayes, who is, and as I say, he's head of the Solar Energy Research Institute under President Jimmy Carter.

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Asia
3:19 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

A Superpower And An Emerging Rival: A Look Ahead At China

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. In an extraordinary step, President Obama and China's new leader, Xi Jinping, met at a California ranch last weekend to reset relations between the two largest economies in the world and between an established superpower and an emerging rival.

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NPR Story
12:57 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

India.Arie Returns To Start A New 'SongVersation'

India.Arie reinvents herself on her new album, SongVersation.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 4:25 pm

When singer-songwriter India.Arie broke through in 2001, her debut album Acoustic Soul went double platinum, and her music and influence continued to gain momentum in the years that followed. Since her debut, she's been nominated for 21 Grammys — and won four — while selling 10 million albums worldwide.

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Science
12:56 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

What Bird Flocks And Fish Schools Can Teach Us About The Future

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 3:19 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan.

We've all seen a flock of birds shift direction instantaneously mid-flight, or a school of fish swirl in what looked like tightly choreographed maneuvers. That's called collective behavior and it fascinated and baffled scientists. Why do they do it? How? Telepathy? Now technology is revolutionizing the way researchers can track, visualize and even create swarms, and what they're finding will make you go wow.

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Movies
12:46 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

From 'Casablanca' To 'Toy Story': Famous Farewells In Film

Originally published on Mon June 17, 2013 2:17 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

And today, film farewells. We consider the great goodbye scenes in movie - boy loses girl for good; hero sets off to certain doom; or a Mother's Day remembrance from Jimmy Cagney.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "WHITE HEAT")

JAMES CAGNEY: (as Cody Jarrett) Made it, Ma! Top of the world!

(EXPLOSION)

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Medical Treatments
1:25 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Life Resumes: Looking Ahead With Suleika Jaouad

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 3:43 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

You may know Suleika Jaouad from Life, Interrupted, the pieces she writes on her cancer on The New York Times Well blog. She's also made time to speak with us over the past year starting last May, about a month after she received a bone marrow transplant. During that conversation, she told us: I feel very hopeful for the future, but I have definitely been humbled by everything I've been through. I don't think of myself as invincible or immortal anymore.

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